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Netezza vs. Snowflake: A Comparison

In data warehouse, netezza, snowflake No Comments
May 8, 2019

As IBM’s Netezza reaches the end of support this summer, many enterprises have transitioned to new data warehouse solutions. For businesses that are still looking for the best solution out there, allow us to introduce you to the benefits of Snowflake’s database. In 2018, Snowflake made the Forbes’ Cloud 100 List as one of the fastest growing cloud solutions in any domain.

As the company says, Snowflake is “an analytic data warehouse provided as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).” Some of the features that have led to Snowflake’s explosive growth are unlimited concurrency, fast elasticity, high availability, and comprehensive security. First, let’s take a look at some of the challenges businesses have had with Netezza.

Netezza Issues

The main issues with IBM’s Netezza stemmed from system downtime, having slow ad-hoc queries and dashboards, not being able to meet the analytics needs of businesses, and inability to scale or innovate due to complexity.

With massive concurrency across dozens of business units, Netezza’s performance was strained to the maximum, slowing analysis times and limiting data to a few users. The database also had a hard time meeting companies’ analytics needs. Data scientists were unable to scale the service for larger queries. This significantly inhibited businesses’ ability to find new ways to deliver personalized experiences. Also, Netezza systems were prone to downtime. Without a way to failover between regions, the system lacked a critical capability to deliver and protect data. Finally, Netezza systems were so complex that organizations were unable to scale or innovate without significant implications.

Let’s look at a chart that compares Netezza vs. Snowflake:


Snowflake’s Unique Features

Snowflake has a myriad of features that set it apart from other databases. In contrast to Netezza, Snowflake can scale to unlimited user concurrency. Instead of paying a fixed rate for the service, Snowflake’s compute resources are elastic. That means you only pay for what you use. Snowflake also features high availability—that means no downtime for your organization. The database leverages Amazon or Azure regions for true high availability across the cloud. Last but not least, Snowflake has comprehensive security measures built into it. It is PCI, SOC 2, and HIPAA compliant. It also has multi-factor authentication and role-based granular access control.

Similarities Between the Databases

Netezza and Snowflake database functions are very similar. This makes the transition easier for users. Similarities between the databases include:

  •     Ansi SQL
  •     Tables, Views, Sequences
  •     Multiple Database and Schema Support
  •     Procedures including Snowflake Private Preview
  •     Nzsql Similar to Snowsql
  •     Nzload Similar to Copy Into


Fairway is one of Snowflake’s leading partners with years of experience supporting Snowflake DB implementations. Contact us for a complimentary Data Assessment or for any questions about migrating between Netezza and other databases to Snowflake.

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